IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/cup/apsrev/v91y1997i02p290-307_20.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Evolutionary Stability of Cooperation

Author

Listed:
  • Bendor, Jonathan
  • Swistak, Piotr

Abstract

Is cooperation without central authority stable? If so, how robust is it? Despite what might be the conventional wisdom, The Evolution of Cooperation did not solve this problem deductively. In fact, results obtained later by others seem to have contradicted the book's main message. Reexamining this exceptionally influential work yields a new picture. Part of Axelrod's evolutionary story turns out to be false. But the main intuition, that retaliatory strategies of conditional cooperation are somehow advantaged, proves correct in one specific and significant sense: Under a standard evolutionary dynamic these strategies require the minimal frequency to stabilize. Hence, they support the most robust evolutionary equilibrium: the easiest to reach and retain. Moreover, the less efficient a strategy, the larger is its minimal stabilizing frequency; Hobbesian strategies of pure defection are the least robust. Our main theorems hold for a large class of games that pose diverse cooperation problems: prisoner's dilemma, chicken, stag hunt, and many others.

Suggested Citation

  • Bendor, Jonathan & Swistak, Piotr, 1997. "The Evolutionary Stability of Cooperation," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 91(2), pages 290-307, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:apsrev:v:91:y:1997:i:02:p:290-307_20
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.cambridge.org/core/product/identifier/S0003055400209970/type/journal_article
    File Function: link to article abstract page
    Download Restriction: no

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Kalle Pajunen, 2006. "Living in Agreement with a Contract: The Management of Moral and Viable Firm–Stakeholder Relationships," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 68(3), pages 243-258, October.
    2. Herbert Simon, 2000. "Bounded rationality in social science: Today and tomorrow," Mind & Society: Cognitive Studies in Economics and Social Sciences, Springer;Fondazione Rosselli, vol. 1(1), pages 25-39, March.
    3. Matthijs van Veelen & Julian Garcia, 2012. "In and out of Equilibrium II: Evolution in Repeated Games with Discounting and Complexity Costs," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-089/I, Tinbergen Institute.
    4. Alexander Field, 2008. "Why multilevel selection matters," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 203-238, December.
    5. Golman, Russell & Page, Scott E., 2010. "Individual and cultural learning in stag hunt games with multiple actions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 359-376, March.
    6. Matus Halas, 2018. "Balancing Against Threats In Interactions Determined By Distance And Overall Gains," Advances in Complex Systems (ACS), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 21(05), pages 1-22, August.
    7. Matthijs van Veelen, 2007. "Evolution of Strategies in Repeated Games with Discounting," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 06-115/1, Tinbergen Institute.
    8. Maru, Yiheyis T. & McAllister, Ryan R.J. & Smith, Mark Stafford, 2007. "Modelling community interactions and social capital dynamics: The case of regional and rural communities of Australia," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 92(1-3), pages 179-200, January.
    9. Nicholas M. Gotts & J. Gareth Polhill, 2009. "When and How to Imitate Your Neighbours: Lessons from and for FEARLUS," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 12(3), pages 1-2.
    10. Jonathan Bendor & Piotr Swistak, 1998. "Evolutionary Equilibria: Characterization Theorems and Their Implications," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 45(2), pages 99-159, October.
    11. Matthijs van Veelen & Julian Garcia, 2010. "In and Out of Equilibrium: Evolution of Strategies in Repeated Games with Discounting," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 10-037/1, Tinbergen Institute.
    12. Bohnet, Iris & Frey, Bruno S. & Huck, Steffen, 2001. "More Order with Less Law: On Contract Enforcement, Trust, and Crowding," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 95(1), pages 131-144, March.
    13. Pedro Dal Bo & Guillaume R. Frochette, 2011. "The Evolution of Cooperation in Infinitely Repeated Games: Experimental Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(1), pages 411-429, February.
    14. García, Julián & van Veelen, Matthijs, 2016. "In and out of equilibrium I: Evolution of strategies in repeated games with discounting," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 161(C), pages 161-189.
    15. Pedro Dal Bó & Enrique R. Pujals, 2013. "The Evolutionary Robustness of Forgiveness and Cooperation," Working Papers 2013-5, Brown University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cup:apsrev:v:91:y:1997:i:02:p:290-307_20. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Keith Waters). General contact details of provider: https://www.cambridge.org/psr .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.